Iridescence: Views from many angles

Melissa G. Meadows, Michael W. Butler, Nathan I. Morehouse, Lisa A. Taylor, Matthew B. Toomey, Kevin McGraw, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Iridescent colours have been fascinating to humans throughout history; they are flashy, shimmering, dynamic, and examples surround us, from the commonly seen iridescent sheen of oily street puddles to the exotic, gaudy displays of birds-of-paradise featured in nature documentaries. Iridescent colours and the structures that produce them have unique properties in comparison with other types of colourants found in nature. Scientists from a variety of disciplines study the optics, development, heritability, chemical make-up, origin, evolution, functions and biomimetic technological applications of naturally occurring iridescent colours. For the first time, graduate students at Arizona State University brought together these scientists, along with educators and artists, at 'Iridescence: more than meets the eye', a conference to promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration in the study of iridescent coloration from all of these perspectives. Here, we summarize the outcomes of this conference, introduce the papers that follow in this special journal issue and briefly review the current status of our understanding of iridescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S107-S113
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Apr 6 2009


  • Behaviour
  • Biomimetics
  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Optics
  • Structural coloration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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